50 Years Ago Today…

50 Years a Programmer…

This post marks a milestone in my life and describes part of my journey from head to heart.

On June 6th, 1967, exactly 50 years ago today, I started a job as a computer operator trainee. On my second day on the job, my boss handed me a COBOL manual and said, “Learn it. As soon as you write your first program, I will give you a $10 per week raise.” I got the raise two weeks later and have been writing computer programs ever since.

In the half century since then, I have watched the computer industry grow up. I have worked on all of these computers:

Univac 1004 (c1968)

Honeywell 120 (c1969))

IBM 1401 (c1969)

IBM 360 (c1970)

DEC PDP-11 (c 1974)

Tandem T-16 NonStop (c 1978)

Apple IIe (c 1980)

Original IBM PC (c 1981)

My Cave Today

I have written code in many languages and probably forgotten more languages than most programmers will ever learn. I have written many millions of lines of code; but who really cares? How many lives have I really touched as a programmer?

About 25 years ago, I discovered that I also had a heart and that my heart was much more interesting than my head. I dove into personal growth work. At one point, I decided I wanted to turn my back on programming and become a personal coach. My wife, Donna talked me out of that, but I still felt an increasing passion to help people who were (like me) stuck in their heads.

In 2001, I did the Mankind Project’s New Warrior Training Adventure, an intense weekend experience that helped me see what my life might look like if I could live more openly in my heart. In the 16 years since that training, I have returned to participate as a staff member over 40 times. I have led over 25 Primary Integration Training events (We call them PIT’s) and I have done considerable growing up.

What I have learned in the past 25 years would probably fill a few books, but one of my big Ah-ha moments was when I realized how poorly most of us connect… with ourselves and with each other. I learned that the path to connection started with a cartoon character called Pogo who looked into the mirror and realized that his most challenging enemy was himself.

This same message was echoed in the final lines of the movie Platoon when Chris Taylor (played by Charlie Sheen) said, “I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves.”

Looking inward is the first step in waking up, and waking up must happen before we can fully grow up and become emotionally mature. And finally, we can show up in our magnificence when we know and accept ourselves exactly as we are and can accept you just the way you are without judging you.

These three concepts, Waking Up, Growing Up and Showing Up form the heart of the ConneXions Intensive Workshop which I teach along with several other wonderful and amazing people.

Bob Jones

I am a recovering engineer, a programmer for over 50 years. A decade or so ago, I discovered that I also have a heart. I have spent most of the last 15 years learning how to move from head to heart and back, as the situation requires. I created this website and the ConneXions Workshop.

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